The Blake family has owned Taos Ski Valley since Ernie Blake founded it in 1955. Ernie’s kids and grandkids have run the resort since Ernie’s passing. Yesterday, it was announced that Taos has been sold to billionaire conservationist Louis Bacon. Taos is famous for steep terrain and holding out on allowing snowboarding at the resort until March 19th, 2008.
Louis Bacon is a hedge-fund manager and land baron known for placing his large swaths of land under conservation trusts.
He [Bacon] famously battled Xcel Energy’s plan to run solar transmission lines across his 171,400-acre Trinchera Blanca ranch in southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley in 2010 and 2011. In 2012 he placed his 20,000-acre Tercio Ranch near Trinidad in a conservation easement with Colorado Open Lands. His easement prohibiting development on Trinchera Blanca is the largest ever for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as well as the largest in Colorado. – Denver Post
Louis has owned the base-area at Taos since 1996. He worked with the Blake family to re-develop the Taos village, expand terrain at the ski resort, and put in a new lift to the top of 12,481-foot Katchina Peak and got approval for the expansion in 2012.
TAOS PRESS RELEASE:
Blake Family Enters Into Agreement With Conservationist
Who Will Acquire Taos Ski Valley
TAOS, NM – Dec. 11, 2013 – Mickey Blake, chief executive officer of Taos
Ski Valley and son of legendary ski pioneers Ernie and Rhoda Blake,
announced today that the family-held corporation has entered into an
agreement with conservationist Louis Bacon who will purchase the resort.
Blake stated, “Louis and his team have been true partners for many years
and have played collaborative roles in the vision our family has for the ski
valley, the base area redevelopment and the on-mountain
improvements. Based on our relationship and his track record for
conservation, our family approached Louis about purchasing Taos Ski
Valley. We believe Louis is the right person to ensure a viable future for the
ski valley and that his ownership will be beneficial to our employees, Taos’
residents and guests. We are pleased he was interested in our proposal
and we look forward to working together on the transition.”
Both Blake and Bacon anticipate, and are committed to, a smooth and
seamless transition for all existing employees, operations and especially for
the skiing public.
Bacon has owned property in Taos Ski Valley since 1996 and his team
collaborated with the Blake Family for several years on the Village Master
Plan, which was unanimously approved last spring by the Village of Taos
“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of this iconic ski area
with its expansive mountain and the first-class team of professionals,“ said
Bacon spokesperson, Peter Talty. “Our mandate is clear and we are
dedicated to advancing the Blake family vision and legacy of Taos Ski
Valley, by continuing to provide an unmatched skiing experience while
serving as an economic driver for northern New Mexico. Louis is honored
that Mickey and his family approached him to be part of this tradition.”
Louis Bacon is the owner of Trinchera Ranch in Costilla County and Tercio
Ranch in Las Animas County, Colorado. In 2012 Bacon reached an
agreement with Colorado Open Lands to place Tercio Ranch into a
perpetual conservation easement that followed his early work with U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to place Trinchera Ranch under the largest
conservation easement donation ever received by FWS as well as the
largest in Colorado. His long-term commitment to southern Colorado
and northern New Mexico has shaped his understanding of the region.
Bacon is a recognized conservation philanthropist through his Moore
Charitable Foundation, and in the region, the Trinchera Blanca
foundation. Some of his conservation work includes supporting
organizations like the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts, Rio Grande
Headwaters Land Trust and the Taos Land Trust.
The Blake family will retain a seat on the Board of Directors for Taos Ski
Valley and all staff will continue in their current positions. Chief Operating
Officer Gordon Briner, who will take over as CEO stated, “We owe so
much to the Blake family and their enduring legacy that has made Taos
Ski Valley what it is today. I look forward to continuing to work closely with
Mr. Bacon and his team and advancing the vision of Ernie, Mickey and
the rest of the Blake family into the future.”
The transaction will be completed pending shareholder approval.
About Taos Ski Valley, Inc.
With more than 305 inches of average annual snowfall and more than 110 trails,
Taos Ski Valley is New Mexico’s premier skiing and snowboarding destination.
Taos Ski Valley boasts a unique, relaxed atmosphere, pristine scenery and
unparalleled skiing and snowboarding. To learn more about Taos Ski Valley or to
plan a vacation for the 2013-2014 season, please visit www.skitaos.org.